Parry Sound will be the launch point for the 3rd Canadian Rangers Patrol Group’s (3CRPG) celebratory 750 km voyage, marking 75 years of service to their country.
The group’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Shane McArthur explains that 3CRPG is one of five Ranger groups that exist across Canada. “We are represented in 29 remote and isolated communities in Northern Ontario, and Exercise Ranger Tracker 2022 is our 75th Anniversary Regional event which we will be conducting from 5 to 17 September,” he says.
He says the Exercise Canadian Ranger Tracker 2022 is a 14-day exercise that will travel over 700 kilometers of waterways, including over 90 waterway locks in Southern Ontario. The voyage will pass by Georgian Bay Township on its first day, Sept. 5.
“We’re starting in Parry Sound and ending in Ottawa. Basically, we’re going from Parry Sound along the coast of Georgian Bay and we’re going to enter the Trent-Severn Waterway System and we are going to follow through those locks and canals and the water system all the way to Lake Ontario. Then we will go up the coast of Lake Ontario to Kingston and then we will enter the Rideau River and then up the Rideau Canal arriving eventually in Ottawa,” McArthur says.
This is a new challenge for 3CRPG, McArthur says, adding there are approximately 50 Canadian Rangers, representatives of all 29 patrol communities participating in the exercise. He says 10 headquarters staff and their leadership will be in those eight freighter canoes, as well, as they traverse across the waterways.
McArthur says the event, which the rangers spent two years planning, preparing, and training for brings an opportunity to celebrate and recognize their 75 years of service. In addition, he says the exercise will give the Rangers a chance to practice the skill sets that are asked of them, such as navigation, boat craft, administration, and coordination with other agencies and groups.
“The resupply of the services that they need while operating in a new area and so this is to give them a new challenge and a new experience with all those many challenges that they’re going to be facing, the water locks, dealing with the unforeseen obstacles, Etc,” he adds.
But mostly, McArthur says they picked southern Ontario to share this experience with other Canadians. He says, “If we were to do this say along the Winisk river, other Canadians would not be able to take part or come and visit and interact with the Rangers. So each leg there will be opportunities to see these Rangers and go out and talk to them and ask them about their experiences, and their life and what it’s like living up north. That’s our hope,”
Each destination the Rangers move through, McArthur says they will be able to interact with the communities that they are in and teach them more about who they are, what they do, and what they’re after.
As for why pick Parry Sound as a launching point, McArthur explains how it was no random pick.
“In World War I, Sergeant Major or MWO Francis Pegahmagabow was a WW1 veteran. He was a First Nations member and a highly recognized and celebrated sniper. He’s pretty famous and our headquarters building here in CFB Borden is named after him,” he says. He says MWO Francis Pegahmagabow was from the Parry Sound area, and his family, surviving family, and ancestors live there in the region.
“So what we are doing is we are going to start at his monument and do a quick prayer smudge and we’ll call it a departure ceremony. We’ve invited the family to take part with us as well as the Mayor of Parry Sound,” McArthur says.
According to him, it’s an informal ceremony but the public is more than welcome to come and watch on the evening of September 4th at 7 PM.
You can go to 3CRPG’s Facebook page to follow along as the Rangers travel toward the nation’s capital.
**Written by Mo Fahim